Thursday Night Football will air on CBS for eight weeks early in the 2014 regular season, the NFL announced today.
The NFL had been searching for a broadcast partner to simulcast its NFL Network Thursday night games, and even though a simulcast with NFL Network is a less valuable property than an exclusive rights agreement, every network was interested because the NFL draws huge ratings. In the end, it was CBS that offered the NFL the most attractive package.
CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the Thursday night games, while NFL Network hosts and analysts will work alongside CBS announcers for pregame, halftime and postgame.
The NFL confirmed that NFL Network will still air eight late-season games exclusively, without the CBS simulcast. And as part of the announcement, the NFL has also confirmed that there will be two late-season Saturday games in 2014. Last year there were no Saturday regular-season games.
“NFL Network built Thursday into a night for NFL fans,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Our goal is to bring these games to more fans on broadcast television with unprecedented promotion and visibility for Thursday Night Football on CBS.”
The agreement between CBS and the NFL is only for the 2014 season, but the deal gives the NFL the option to extend it for 2015 as well.